Memo From Houston: What Harvey Taught Me

One week you will be doing ballet barre classes and drinking self-righteousness smoothies and the […]

Sarah Condon / 9.11.17

  1. One week you will be doing ballet barre classes and drinking self-righteousness smoothies and the next week you will be hunkered down on a couch in your native Mississippi, crying into your 6am Jimmy Dean pancake on a stick, while endlessly watching the Weather Channel.
  2. When your husband sends you and your kids away from Houston, you will not see him again for two weeks. You will have brought enough clothing for two days. You will stay with the most generous people you know until you and your family have officially worn out your loudass welcome. And then you will need to stay another twenty-four hours. Jesus, take the wheel.
  3. You will be a full-time mom for two weeks straight. You will desperately miss your work buddies, email inbox, and the water cooler. Oh, and your husband.
  4. You will stay up three nights in a row worried that a dam will break and drown your husband. It won’t help the situation. But you can definitely hope that worry holds water back.
  5. On your unexpected cross-country “Hurrication” (patent pending), you will cry in a Target and a McDonald’s. All in the same day. You will yell-weep at the elderly man “in charge” of the safety mask section at Lowe’s because he doesn’t know if they are mold-proof or not. I mean, how did he even get this job?! Your 3-year-old daughter will try to comfort you by whispering to herself, “I really really like Sarah.”
  6. When the roads are finally safe enough for you to head home to Houston, your mother will send you with a flat of bottled water because she read somewhere that people might get cholera.
  7. When you finally get back to Houston, things will look so torn apart and people will look so desperate that you may want to leave again. But you cannot. Because your city and the people you love have fallen apart. Also, your mom was right. This looks like cholera central.
  8. Poor people will suffer. Rich people will suffer. And you will have very little use for comparison or questions about who deserves what. As your friend Sarah Denley says, “Hard is hard, yo.”
  9. At day 17, there will still be water in neighborhoods. And yet people will rejoice in a six-year-old’s birthday, they will grill hotdogs for strangers cleaning out their houses, and they will collect little tutus for all of the girls about to go back to ballet lessons. Because school starts tomorrow. Again. Lord, help us.
  10. You will cry every day. Twice.
  11. Cajuns and Christians will be two of the most responsive religious groups out there. Until this hurricane, you had no idea of your secret desire to be a Louisiana Catholic. Those people must love Jesus and the nautical arts of search and rescue.
  12. Survivor’s Guilt is a thing people will talk about: “My house didn’t flood, I feel so bad.” This is both a real thing and a real waste of time. It’s not theologically correct, but you tend to think that if people were spared losing baby photos, antique furniture, and cars, then God wants them to help everyone who did lose those things.
  13. You will not care what Joel Osteen did or did not do. You will be too tired for that.
  14. Little laws about who has the “right” response and “why” will likely make you more tired. It will be like a death. People will say crazy and often inappropriate things. But at least they are saying something.
  15. Your faith in Jesus will never have felt this sure and this faulty. Luckily you don’t have to believe in him in order for him to believe in you. Besides, you shouldn’t trust your feelings. You are exhausted. And have eaten a lot of Oreos.